In Acts 16, Paul had “one of those days.” On the way to the house of prayer, a young slave woman began following him and Silas. Her shouts were meant to draw unwanted attention to the apostle. In reality, the enemy was seeking to run Paul and his evangelistic team out of town. But Paul commanded the harassing spirit to leave this young woman (see Acts 16:18).

Her owners, who made money through her fortune-telling, were not happy. Frustrations grew until the entire city of Philippi erupted.

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, . . . (Acts 16:22-23)

If anyone had a reason to be depressed, it was Paul and Silas. Yet, they did not allow their circumstances to cause them to question the providence of God. Instead, they turned a bad situation into one of praise to the Lord (see Acts 16:25).

God had a plan for their imprisonment. At midnight the door to their jail cell opened, and they were free men—but they did not leave because they knew it would mean death for the jailer who had been given the charge to watch over them. He was amazed by their commitment to God and accepted Christ as his Savior, but the story did not end here. The jailer’s entire family was saved, and the next morning Paul and Silas were freed.

The next time you are tempted to be downcast, look up to God. Ask Him to use you as an instrument of Truth, hope, and encouragement to others. Pass His love on, and you will be set free from every thought of depression.

Prayer: Though my world seems unstable and ever-changing, I will praise You, Lord. Open my eyes to opportunities where You are calling me to be bold. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them” (Acts 16:40).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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